Theology & Biblical Studies

Principles of Parenting in the Biblical Old Testament and Their Implications for the Contemporary Nigerian Society


This work embodies an in-depth examination of the principles of parenting in the Old Testament and their significance to modern-day society. Reference was made to Deuteronomy 6: 4-9. In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy stands out as the book that contains the laws guiding the family and social lives of the people. The book of Deuteronomy lays down the principles of parenting, which runs through the whole Old Testament. Parenting is seen as the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and moral development of a child from infancy to adulthood. In the Old Testament/Traditional society, parenting responsibility went beyond biological/foster parents to include contributions from all members of the nuclear and extended family, members of one’s kindred, and the entire community. They play specific roles at different stages of a child’s life towards his or her overall well-being in society. Canonical Criticism of biblical studies and interpretation was adopted as the methodology for the study. This critical method builds upon the foundation of earlier methods and further portrays the Bible as a comprehensive collection of canonical writings that is sacred and normative in various communities of faith. This implies that the law given in Deuteronomy indicating the norms of training a child from infancy to adulthood is binding and encompasses the dictum for an egalitarian and cohesive society. Information was sourced through literature review, oral interview, and personal observation. In its analysis of the quantum of available data, this work shows that the Biblical pattern for building a society devoid of corruption, indiscipline, and violence is through the process of inculcating strong moral standards. This became apparent because the Old Testament consistently links proper parenting to a healthy society. However, the study found that poor parenting is one of the major causes of moral decadence in contemporary society. The prevalent model of parenting today is grossly inadequate because many parents tend to be passive about their parenting responsibilities. The Biblical principles of child upbringing as contained in the Old Testament squarely located the hub of social cohesion and development on the pedestal of strong family values that were transmitted and sustained by active and proper parenting. Some principles of parenting from the Old Testament that can be applied to the Nigerian context include catechetical dogmatism and the appropriate interpretation and use of the rod. Hence, this work put forward the Old Testament idea of parenting as a model for the present Nigerian society to alleviate the problems facing the nation.


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